Inside Track on Music Row January 2024

Monthly Music News Column By Preshias Harris

inside track on music row by preshias Harris

Verse of the month:

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing.

Psalms 98

Quote of the month:

“I started being a songwriter pretending I could do it, and it turned out I could.”

James Taylor


A whole lot of Album News as 2024 kicks off, so let’s dive right in!


Prayin’ For Sunshine marks the first time Suzy Bogguss has written an entire album. The impetus for this collection arose during the global lockdown in 2020, a period where Suzy reflected on her journey and felt compelled to share her experiences with her devoted audience. Recorded at her long-time Tennessee home, the album captures the raw essence of southern storytelling and the authentic roots of Americana music. The tracks, ranging from the heartfelt homage “Paint the Town Blue,” celebrating her hometown, to “Sunday Birmingham,” a road song expressing a longing for respite on tour, encapsulate a rich tapestry of personal introspection and captivating narratives. “It All Falls Down To The River” delves deep into the intricate facets of American history, accompanied by soul-stirring gospel harmonies from the McCrary Sisters. Suzy’s initial solitary work laid the foundation for a deeply personal musical journey leading to Prayin’ For Sunshine becoming an endeavor of collaborative creativity. Adding a crack four-piece band of great session musicians and friends created a synergy and camaraderie elevating the record and infusing it with warmth and a sense of familial spirit. Prayin’ For Sunshine has already received critical acclaim with Music Row highlighting the “captivating” focus track “It All Falls Down To The River” and American Songwriter adding that the song is a “lyrical gut-punch…painting a powerful picture.” @SuzyBogguss


With his highly anticipated independent debut album, Love Ain’t Pretty, out January 26, multi-talent Charles Esten is revealing the true dichotomy of matters of the heart with two new releases from the full-length project. Available across all streaming platforms and digital retailers, listen to “Make You Happy” and “When Love Ain’t Love” here:   Vividly detailed and filled with the emotional daring of a celebrated storyteller – both onscreen and onstage – Esten dives into wide-ranging themes of earth-shattering romance, big-picture reflection, and beyond, in Love Ain’t Pretty. Spotlighted as the High Note in Nashville Lifestyles’ The Music Issue on stands now, the diverse and richly textured full-length project was also just featured by and Parade. In addition, it’s been spotted on anticipated albums of 2024 lists by The Tennessean, STEREOGUM, Men’s Journal, and Taste of Country. More than 10 years in the making, Esten explores life, love, and the passing of time through the lens of a traveled and tested everyman, who has never lost his innate sense of wonder, or his wide-open soul, with a rollout of already released songs including “One Good Move,” “A Little Right Now,” “In A Bar Somewhere,” “Down The Road (feat. Eric Paslay),” and “Somewhere In The Sunshine.”  Celebrating Love Ain’t Pretty with an album release show at Exit/In on January 26, limited tickets are remaining. Fans can purchase here: #CharlesEsten


It isn’t often when a country singer has the rock-solid guts of Dust Bowl reveries, the jacked-up locomotion of the early Bakersfield country sound and the more modern-minted energy of Los Angeles’ honky-tonk hijinks all rolled into one righteous attack. But that’s George Ducas’ soul to share. On his new album, Long Way From Home, there is a distinct feeling of a new history being born. Maybe that’s because Ducas is able to seamlessly connect all those elements with such a natural flair that it can be a bit overwhelming when the sound is flying at full-tilt. On his previous albums it was obvious that something serious has always been happening with the man’s music. It could be felt in the rhythms the songs featured, in the lyrics of someone who takes songwriting seriously, and maybe most of all in the voice of an all-time great country music singer. Ducas has had multiple Billboard chart hits of his own, including the breakout Top 10 “Lipstick Promises”, and has even written hit records for all-timers like George Jones, Garth Brooks, The Chicks, and Trisha Yearwood and been nominated for a Grammy Award, but – teaming with Platinum producer/guitar player Pete Anderson – he’s never made an album like Long Way From Home. Music and tour info: #GeorgeDucas


Full of unflinching honesty rooted in compassionate clarity, BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records singer/songwriter Elvie Shane delivers his most daring work yet with his forthcoming sophomore album Damascus releasing April 19th, available for pre-order/pre-save/pre-add here:  With each track stepping into the shoes of another, Shane takes pieces of each character he’s met on his path, melding them into one beautifully woven work. Shane co-wrote all songs on the project produced by his frequent collaborator, Oscar Charles. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot since ‘Backslider.’ I’ve attained just about everything I ever dreamed of…seen the world and made a living with music. I’ve been on top and back down in the mud,” said Shane. “In that travel and experience, I’ve paid close attention to people more than anything. I’ve seen a lot of struggle, but in that struggle I found common ground and inspiration. ‘Damascus’ is a record that aims to pick a fight with what holds people down. Normal every day Blue Collar America…my people.” He’s given listeners a taste of the project with releases of “Baptized,” “Jonesin’” and “Forgotten Man” and with his latest track “Pill.”  Shane hits the road on The Damascus Acoustic Stories Tour, a 10-stop intimate tour starting Feb 1 in Louisville, KY. Music and tour/ticket info: #ElvieShane


19 Recordings/BMG artist Colin Stough starts the new year off with a powerful message of resilience, as he offers up a fresh rendition of one of his biggest hits with “I Still Talk To Jesus (Acoustic).” Available across all streaming platforms and digital retailers, listen here:  A Country-Rock ballad of unshakable hope, “I Still Talk To Jesus” was originally part of Stough’s standout time on ABC’s American Idol in 2022. Eventually finishing third on Season 21, Stough released the aching anthem alongside his fellow Top 5 finalists, showing fans a moving example of inner toughness – and one heart’s weary-yet-determined refusal to give up on love. Produced by Sean Rogers, Stough’s new acoustic take of the track further highlights that message. Using only guitar to back his dynamic Mississippi vocal, the rising star dials down his million-watt intensity for a captivating blend of wounded soul and falsetto grit, cutting straight to heart of one of his most popular songs. Meanwhile, a raw performance of the all-natural track – penned by Stough, Sean Thomas Rogers, and Francisco Martin – was captured and edited by Mike Rodway. Spending last year headlining while also supporting artists like Kidd G and Drake White, he’s next on deck with Chase Matthew starting in February. Find upcoming show dates here: #ColinStough


“Hello From The Hills,” a special collaborative benefit concert co-presented by The Hello in There Foundation and Hope in the Hills, will return to Nashville’s City Winery on Sunday, January 28. The second annual event will feature acoustic performances from Tyler Childers, Wynonna Judd, Ben Folds, SG Goodman, Abby Hamilton, Gabe Lee, Lindsay Lou, Jeremy Short and more, and will once again be hosted by NPR Mountain Stage’s Kathy Mattea.

Tickets will be available for pre-sale starting next Wednesday, January 10 at 10:00am CT with general on-sale following next Friday, January 12 at 10:00am CT. Full details at   At the core of the event, The Hello in There Foundation and Hope in the Hills have selected three organizations to receive grants this year: MusiCares, which provides health and welfare services to the music community, Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, an organization that provides compassionate immigration legal services to those seeking humanitarian relief and Musicians Recovery Network, which supports those struggling with addiction through the power of music, arts and spirituality.  Established in 2021 by the family of John Prine, The Hello in There Foundation continues the love, kindness and generosity Prine shared with the world. Started in 2017, Hope in the Hills is a non-profit organization committed to combatting the opioid crisis and support recovery across Appalachia.


Putting truth to the viral rumors, Joe Bonsall, tenor singer for fifty years for The Oak Ridge Boys, has officially announced his plans to retire from touring. During a December 30th concert in Greenville, Mississippi, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban introduced Ben James (Doyle Lawson, Dailey & Vincent) to an enthusiastic audience at Harlow’s Casino Resort. Bonsall said in part: “Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over four years now) of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road. It has just gotten too difficult. It has been a great 50 years, and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys, band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all… There is a young man named Ben James singing for me out there, and he needs your love and encouragement … his sound is different than mine, but he brings a ton of talent to the table! The Oak Ridge Boys will finish the Farewell Tour without me, but rest assured, I am good with all of it! God’s Got It!!!” Ben James was no stranger to The Oak Ridge Boys, being introduced to them in 2022 during a concert in Wheeling, West Virginia, where Daily & Vincent were also on the bill. Tour updates at


The new Memphis Rock Recordings by John Krondes with all the original Elvis Presley musicians and singers are overawing the entertainment world and once again filling the airwaves with that unmistaken, incomparable, and adored harmonious Memphis Sound. “The End” is a New Beginning for Elvis Presley, music lovers, and The Memphis Sound.  Elvis Presley’s Best Friend, Best Man, and Road Manager Joe Esposito discovered John Krondes, managed the Elvis Hit Making Team project until his passing in 2016, and proclaimed: “The John Krondes music breathes new life for Elvis.” It all started with “The End” and Joe Esposito was there.  Elvis Presley sang “The End” a/k/a “At The End Of A Rainbow” to Priscilla Beaulieu on the night they met in Germany.  Esposito was one of Elvis Presley’s friends singing harmony with him on “The End” to the 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. The magical Elvis and Priscilla love story began with “The End”.   It was co-written by John Krondes’ father Jimmy Krondes in 1958. This new recording has come full circle to become the song that would bring the Elvis Presley music entourage back to the studio to make nearly 100 of the first new recordings since 1977 with Singer/Songwriter John Krondes. More at


New country artist Mark Taylor is kicking off the new year with a release all the 90s country fans will love. His new single, “Brooks & Done,” which pays tribute to many Brooks & Dunn song titles, is available on all digital streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and more. Mark grew up listening to 90’s country and his favorite childhood duo was Brooks & Dunn. When he sat down with fellow artist Dan Harrison and hit songwriter Steve O’Brien who co-wrote “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” for Brooks & Dunn alongside other hits for John Michael Montgomery, Don Williams, and more, they started talking about how 90s country was one of the best decades for the genre. Those artists, including Brooks & Dunn, paved the way for some of the biggest stars today. “Dan brought this clever hook to us and before we knew it, we were name dropping many song titles from this iconic duo in our song,” says Mark. Every time I play this song out, the response is overwhelming. I’m so excited to officially release it for everyone to hear. Take a listen and let me know how many Brooks & Dunn songs you hear.”  Tour info and more at  #MarkTaylorCountry



Bonnaroo released the lineup for 2024 this month and it will be an insane reunion on The Farm this June 13–16 with legendary performances from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Fred again.., Pretty Lights x2 (including the first-ever Thursday What Stage headlining performance + an unforgettable sunrise set), Megan Thee Stallion, Cage The Elephant, Melanie Martinez, Maggie Rogers and SO MUCH MORE! For tickets and more visit:


HangoutMusic Festival is excited to reveal its 2024 lineup, featuring an eclectic group of artists set to perform on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama this May 17-19. Headed into its thirteenth edition, Hangout has become a state of mind where life is a party, a happy place with good vibes only, and a beachside daydream where sun-drenched lifelong memories are made. This year’s lineup will showcase a slew of leading names in varying genres from pop and country, to electronic music, rock, alternative, rap, and beyond. For tickets and more info visit:


Country music’s biggest names and more viewers than ever across the nation rang in 2024 with CBS’ “New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash.”  The show is 2023’s #1 country program of the year––followed by the CMAs (6.84m), CMTs (5.64m) as well as “CMA Fest” (3.65m), “People’s Choice Country Awards” (3.90m), NBC’s “Christmas at The Opry” (4.44m), “CMA Country Christmas” (4.49m) and “CMA FEST: 50 Years of Fan Fair” (1.77m).  From 7:30-10:00pm, “Nashville’s Big Bash” averaged 8.31m viewers, more than doubling its primetime audience last year. CBS’s first portion of primetime coverage outranked ABC’s first portion of primetime coverage by +18% (versus 7.03m). This was CBS’s most watched original entertainment special since The 65th Annual Grammy Awards last February.   In addition to soaring viewership, Nashville saw a spike in in-person attendance at Nashville’s Big Bash as well. An estimated 215,000 fans (+5,000 more than 2022) gathered at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to ring in the new year with headliners Thomas Rhett, Lainey Wilson, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.


The Holidays might be over, but RECORDS Nashville artist-songwriter George Birge is still celebrating, notching his first ever Country radio #1 with debut single, “Mind On You.” Co-written by the Texas native with Jaron Boyer, Michael Tyler and Colt Ford, the hypnotic late-night anthem tops the Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay chart this week – and alongside other accolades, shows Birge emerging as a bona fide rising star.

Also making waves at Billboard, the addictive hit marked Birge’s debut on the all-genre Hot 100 list last week. Breaking in at #88, “Mind On You” was called out by Billboard directly after garnering 31.6 million radio airplay audience impressions and 1.1 million U.S. streams for the previous week, and also landing Birge inside the Top 20 on the all-format Radio Songs chart.

Birge reacted on socials to the news saying “My first Number One on the last day of the year…. Y’all I have dreamed of this day my entire life and there were at least a hundred sleepless nights where I thought it might never come true. Y’all never quit on me and believed in me even when I didn’t and today we have the Number One song in America …” Stream/download “Mind On You” here:  On top of the #1, Birge was recently named to the coveted New Faces of Country Music lineup for CRS 2024. More at #georgebirge


“Please! Please! Please!” – the new single from Ty Stonehawker – is a soulful, hoot-and-holler telltale.  “This track feels like ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ meets Mumford & Sons,” said the Portland, Oregon-based singer songwriter. “It’s a true ’lemons into lemonade’ story; I wrote this one while sitting in jail. The lyrics are a tell-all.“  Listen here:  Embracing a tumultuous personal chapter of Stonehawker’s life and rustic roots, the evocative musical narrative unfolds with a raw authenticity to merge seamlessly with upbeat, barn-burning bluegrass instrumentation. Telltale lyrics plead for redemption while the beckoning chorus, “please, please, please, let me go back to my baby, let me go back to my kin,” heightens the cinematic storyline that echoes the inherent emotional cry to revisit nostalgic moments. Stonehawker’s gravelly vocals, supported by a rolling rhythm section, portray a weariness sustained by a spirited and jovial thread of hope to return to the familiar, and comforting arms of home and loved ones. “Please! Please! Please!” was written by Ty Stonehawker and produced by Mike “Mooka” Rennick. The song is set for release Jan 26 with a new album – Gamblin’ Man – coming soon. More at


Big Loud’s Country songstress Ashley Cooke impacted Country airwaves in December with her moody breakup anthem, “your place.” Commanding the attention of 71 first week stations as the third most-added, the “feel good, I don’t need you anthem” (Holler) penned by Cooke, Jordan Minton and Mark Trussell continues to build momentum as the standout track from the up-and-comer’s critically acclaimed debut album, shot in the dark.  Finishing off the year on a high note and cementing a booming kick off in 2024, Cooke was named iHeartCountry’s On The Verge artist, joining the esteemed ranks of female superstars Lainey Wilson, Megan Moroney and Carly Pearce who have also held the coveted honor. Cooke was surprised with the news by Wilson backstage at the Grand Ole Opry ahead of her Opry NextStage Class of 2023 live performance. Watch it here.  “’your place’ has been the song I’ve connected with fans over night after night as they sing their hearts out about whatever they are going through,” shares Cooke. “For this song to reach even more people through Country radio is a dream come true for me and I cannot thank every single station enough for your support. iHeart, I am honored beyond words that you’ve chosen me as your On The Verge artist. This vote of confidence has made a year of long days so worth it and I look forward to working even harder in 2024.”  More at #AshleyCooke


Texas music mainstays Randy Rogers Band donated back into their community in December, gifting $150,000 to New Braunfels nonprofit organization Connections Individual and Family Services. The organization is dedicated to empowering youth, connecting families, and building futures one youth and one family at a time. Learn more here. The proceeds were raised at the 14th annual RRB Golf Jam in late October at River Crossing Golf Club in Spring Branch, TX, through a charity concert and a silent/live auction. Randy Rogers Band started the RRB Golf Jam in 2009, aiming to use their platform for the greater good. The group donates the proceeds every year to a different charity in need and have given over $300,000 back to the community in the last two years.  In an interview with the New Braunfels’ local newspaper Herald-Zeitung Rogers shared this year’s donation to Connections felt like the right timing, as it recently broke ground on a new facility.  Rogers told the paper, “It’s [Connections] a great cause, and the new facility is going to be absolutely gorgeous and needed for a long time in our community,” Rogers said. “It’s been fun to watch their vision and see their plans … I’m happy to be a part of it.”  Randy Rogers Band 2024 tour dates and more at #RandyRogersBand


As 2024 dawns, artists are loading up the bus and hitting the road.  Here are some tour announcements and updates:


After ending his breakout 2023 with a run of 19 sold-out shows, including two nights at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. and four in his hometown of Morgantown, W.V., Charles Wesley Godwin has announced the first round of dates for his 2024 headline tour. The headline tour begins April 4 at The National in Richmond, Va. and will coincide with his run on Luke Combs’ Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old stadium tour beginning April 12 at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis. Godwin will kick off his 2024 touring year with a headlining show in Wichita, Kan. on Jan. 18, followed by a pair of shows with Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Jan. 19 +20. Godwin is also confirmed for a number of major summer festivals, including Stagecoach, Under the Big Sky, Buckeye Country Superfest, Tortuga Music Festival, and others. Godwin released his third album and Big Loud Records debut, Family Ties, in September. The album has been met with critical acclaim, radio success, and strong DSP support. Godwin and the album ended up on a number of best of 2023 year-end lists. Music, tour/ticket info: #CharlesWGodwin


Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville’s standout Country star Kameron Marlowe wrapped his momentous year of touring, closing out the first leg of his 2023 I Can Lie Tour with sold-out shows in Charleston and Chattanooga, and claims the title for the biggest turnout to date at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in S.C.  Thrilling live audiences with his “signature smoky voice” ( at more than 100 shows in 2023, Marlowe’s just-released hit “Tennessee Don’t Mind” proves to be a crowd-favorite.  Massive fan-demand called for Marlowe to extend his I Can Lie Tour for 14 more stops throughout winter 2024. The tour, which kicked off on Oct. 26 in Los Angeles, Calif., will now run through March 1, with stops in Huntsville, Denver, Louisville and more with special guests Logan Crosby and Laci Kaye Booth. Come spring, the N.C native will join CMA Entertainer of the Year Lainey Wilson for the Australian leg of her Country’s Cool Again Tour gracing the stage for multiple nights down under. With streaming numbers exceeding toward 713M+ to date, Marlowe enters 2024 as MusicRow’s Next Big Thing, further solidifying his previous recognition from Opry’s NextStage, CMT’s Listen Up, Amazon Music’s One to Watch, Pandora, Spotify, and more than a dozen media outlets. Tour dates and more at #KameronMarlowe


Fire spittin’ country artist and quadruple threat Jordan Rainer wrapped up a notable year with major milestones under her belt and announced her 2024 Straight Shot Tour, officially kicking off in January.  Jordan recently celebrated her very first No. 1 song on the Texas Regional Radio Charts with her current rock edge country song, “Straight Shot”. This single followed her previous chart-topping releases including Top 15 hit “Damn Sandwich” and Top 20 hit “You Made A Rock”, on which she teamed up with Texas Red-Dirt artist Shayne Porter. In 2023, she also took home the highly coveted trophy for New Female Vocalist of the Year at the Texas Country Music Awards as well as the New Faces of Texas Country Music Award. She has garnered national and international print and TV exposure and received praise and support from some of the biggest artists in music including Reba McEntire, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Niall Horan, Wynonna, and Chance the Rapper, while being a contestant on The Voice.  “It has been a dream to have my idol Reba McEntire as my coach,” says Jordan. “I have so much respect for all the coaches and mentors and have made some great friends along the way. This year has been amazing and I’m super excited for everything my team and I have planned for 2024. It’s going to be one heck of a year!” Updates at


Country-Rock breakouts Southall are set to deliver a one-two punch of knockout live-show power, with their co-headline The Glory Daze Tour 2024 with Canadian rockers The Glorious Sons. Set to kick off March 21 in Athens, Georgia, the heavy-hitting tour will feature nine concert dates across the U.S., ranging from Ohio and the greater Midwest to the Lone Star State and beyond before wrapping April 12 in Houston, Texas. Southall shares, “We’re thrilled to join forces with The Glorious Sons! We both have history playing in these places, and we’re excited to see what can happen now that we’re coming back teamed up. Who knows, maybe they show us around Canada for the next one.”  Them Dirty Roses will serve as the supporting act throughout the tour. Tickets on-sale now at  Southall is touring in support of their explosive self-titled album released in September via Smoklahoma Records. Featuring 11 tracks pulling on stylistic threads from hard charging ‘70s Rock and gritty Southern Soul to grooving back-alley Blues and beyond, Southall includes fan favorites like the road-weary romantic rocker “When You’re Around,” the soul-searching psychedelic anthem “By Surprise” and the swampy juke-joint dancer “Scared Money” – plus their latest focus track, the rootsy Alt-Rock throwback “All I Have.” Music, tour dates and more at


Multi-Platinum hitmaker Matt Stell is entering the ring for a boxing match of love in the official music video for his current single “Breakin’ in Boots” (RECORDS Nashville).  Filmed at Punches n’ Bunches Boxing Studio in Nashville, TN, the Dustin Haney-directed clip shows Stell becoming a part of the retro video game he is playing, and the knockout that broke his heart. Sending out a white-hot romantic warning, “Breakin’ in Boots” debuted in the Top 5 most-added at Country radio with 55 first-week stations nationwide – the most Mediabase adds on impact of his career. All about a wild heart that can never be tamed, “Breakin’ in Boots” was co-written by Stell with Joe Fox [also serving as producer], Ben Stennis, and Nate Cyphert. Featured in CMT, Taste of Country, and named among The Best Country Songs About Boots by Holler, Country Now calls it a “hot new heartbreak anthem,” while American Songwriter further praises, “A heart-thumping beat coupled with glimmering electric guitar and Stell’s smooth vocals make ‘Breakin’ in Boots’ an instant earworm.” “Breakin’ in Boots” follows Stell’s 2023 EP, One Of Us, and a recent collaboration with Country riser Chase Matthew on the project’s anthemic title track. More new music is promised in 2024. Tour info, videos, music and more at #MattStell


Send me music stuff, I love to get it! / / @PreshiasHarris  #PreshiasHarris

Preshias Harris is a music journalist with more than three decades on the Nashville music scene. She is an advocate for songwriters and a music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at  Follow her blog at  #PreshiasHarris

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